Annual Batavia Muckdogs Hot Stove Dinner is March 21

The Genesee County Baseball Club will hold its annual Batavia Muckdogs Hot Stove Dinner and Auction on Saturday, March 21st, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Church Hall at 17 Sumner St. in Batavia. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.

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The evening will begin with a cocktail hour followed by a buffet dinner at 5:30. The Hot Stove Dinner is a time for good food, friendship and baseball talk. The night also features silent and live auctions of baseball-related memorabilia (including signed bats and balls), work by local artists, and gift certificates from a variety of local businesses.

This year’s dinner will also benefit the Center of Hope, the Batavia VA’s new facility for women veterans.

Tickets may be purchased in Batavia at Dwyer Stadium, Gerace’s Hair Care, the Williams Law Firm, the office of Dr. Alan Barcomb, and State Street Animal Hospital.

Interview with Naomi Silver

I read a interesting short article over at this website and you can click here to read it yourself. I copy and pasted it below for your easy of reading.

Interview With Naomi Silver: President, CEO And COO Of The Triple-A Rochester Red Wings

Evan Petzold sat down and interviewed a president, CEO and COO of a minor-league team.

Naomi Silver
Naomi Silver took time to speak with Evan Petzold about the Rochester Red Wings. They are a Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. She is the President, CEO and COO of the team. She is also the LLC for the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York Penn League, a minor league affiliate of the Miami Marlins.

INTERVIEW:

1. What have you been working on this offseason to prepare your team for the season ahead?

NS: We have been reviewing last year’s promotions in order to see what we keep, what we tweak, what we eliminate and what we add. Lots of time creating new concepts, ordering new merchandise, and planning for Opening Day, which is of the ultimate importance to us. This is also the time of year that we make changes to the stadium that have to be done off-season, before the snow flies substantially. There are also events here at this time of year. Lots of companies around town use our services and space for holiday parties and business meetings and seminars. Nothing is more fun than a meeting at the ballpark. Great place to do a little business in a fun environment.

2. How do the older guys help out the younger guys with the transition into professional baseball? How does the front office help?

NS: Experience in dealing with clients and fans is very important, so I think that’s one of the biggest ways the older guys help out; by sharing their own experience. Most young staffers are hired from among the pool of interns we have had working for us. We get to know the interns during their internships, and if they are serious, hard working, caring and FUN individuals, we know that they will work out, either on our staff or working for another ballclub. During their internships, they work with our folks, who are among the best in the game. By the time they’re hired, they have a sense of what it takes to be successful. Of course, nothing is more useful than time spent learning the job.

The key job in a sports front office is sales. We sell advertising, radio ad time, program ads, fence signs and promotions like fireworks nights, tickets (of course!), and merchandise. That’s how we make our money to support carrying out the games. Sales takes a certain talent, but selling baseball is a lot more fun than a lot of other sales jobs. Clients or potential clients enjoy meeting with our staff because they get to hear a little about the team, and the behind the scenes stuff. This skill is definitely learned from the more mature sales

3. What is an average day for you at the office?

NS: I have many, many meetings each day. They range from meeting with the County Executive to meeting with staff members who are looking for input, to meetings with attorneys (another off-season type of work) to meeting with clients, or people who are interested in working in baseball and are just looking for advice. This list goes on and on.

4. What is the best part about your job?

NS: The fans. I love making people happy, and that is my goal every day. I love the interaction. I just love people.

5. What is the worst part about your job?

NS: There is no “worst part”. Everything is not ALWAYS rosy, but there is no regularly occurring part that is a drag. I would say the toughest thing for me is to let an employee go, but that is a rare occurrence.

6. When did you decided you wanted to make this your career? How did you achieve your goals?

NS: I had married a ball player when I was very young, and as we traveled in baseball, big leagues, minor leagues and South America, I learned a lot about the business that supports the games being played. When I can back to Rochester, I began to work at Silver Stadium and quickly knew it was the right path for me.

7. Do you have any advice for kids who want to make it pro someday?

NS: Work hard in school (you’ll never regret it even if it’s killing you right now. You want to choose YOUR college, so make grades a non-issue), give it everything you’ve got when you are practicing or playing. The work ethic is important. If you don’t have it, you will not succeed. Respect your coaches and teammates, and the game. There is no room for self importance in baseball.

The NEW Red Wings manager is Mike Quade

Mike Quade is the new manager for the Rochester Red Wings and will be introduced at a news conference the Friday afternoon.

Quade

Quade was named the 44th manager in Wings history last month, taking over for Gene Glynn who will serve as the Minnesota Twins third base coach in 2015.

Back on December 19th 2014 the Twins setup Mike Quade for the Triple-A Manager Job. Now it is confirmed. The Twins announced their 2015 minor league staff assignments Friday, with Quade joining the organization for the first time.

Welcome to Rochester Mike and we look forward to seeing you this year!

Stadium work creates loss for Red Wings

The following article was written over at the Rochester D&C by

KEVINO@DemocratandChronicle.com
Twitter.com/@kevinoDandC

Based on the balance sheet for their fiscal year of 2014, the Rochester Red Wings could more aptly be named the Rochester Red-Ink Wings.

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Rochester Community Baseball (RCB), owner of the Triple-A franchise, is reporting a $207,000 loss for the period of Nov. 1, 2013, to Oct. 31, 2014.

That’s a record one-year deficit for the Red Wings’ 18 seasons at Frontier Field, and just the third losing year in the downtown ball park. They reported a $100,000 loss in 2009 and a $93,000 deficit in 2011. In 2013 they showed a tiny profit ($3,000).

The 2014 deficit doesn’t even include another $210,000 in losses from operating the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League.

The team’s annual report to shareholders provided a separate breakdown of revenues and operating costs for the Red Wings and Muckdogs.

Still, the RCB franchise remains rock-solid in terms of financial stability, with more than $1.6 million in cash in the bank and another nearly $1.2 million in fixed assets.

“You don’t want to take that balance sheet down,” Chairman of the Board Gary Larder said, “but clearly we’re in a position where we can absorb some bad years, and that’s a wonderful position.”

The cash purchase of a new video board (more than $400,000, Larder said), a $100,000 payment to an architectural firm to assess necessary upgrades to Frontier Field, the loss of six of 72 home dates to bad weather (including the home opener), and a bump in minimum wage were the biggest factors in a negative balance sheet.

“It was not as discouraging as it would seem,” Larder said. “The reasons we lost money were good reasons. We spent money on things that bode well for the future.”

The bottom line was boosted by investment income. The team’s stock and investment portfolio turned a $380,000 profit after the sale of stock, taking advantage of gains made during a bull market.

Shareholders will be briefed on the 2014 financial report and can also ask questions during the annual meeting, set for 10 a.m. on Jan. 31 at the Doubletree Hotel in Henrietta.

There are 33,809 shares of RCB stock. The team has never paid a dividend, Larder said.

Losing six home dates because of either ran or frigid temperatures hurt greatly. While those games are made up, they become doubleheaders and the original game tickets are honored for another game.

The 2014 season included nine home games between April 5 and April 17, when below-40 temperatures are common. In 2015, the Wings are home just twice (April 11 and 12) between April 9 (the day International League play begins) and April 23.

“You can build the Taj Mahal and people are not going to come out here when it’s 34 degrees,” Larder said.

Turnstile attendance was up 1 percent (to 262,155) and paid ticket sales were up less than 1 percent (1,703 to 422,454). Ticket revenue increased 19 percent, to $2.973 million.

The Frozen Frontier, a 10-day outdoor hockey festival Dec. 13-22, 2013, made money, Larder said. The specifics weren’t included in the annual report and the profit likely was well under $50,000.

“It was a great community event,” Larder said. “We’d never do it to make money but we’d do it again just because of how the community responded.”

The Muckdogs continue to be a financial drain on the Wings, but it remains an investment that RCB officials believe will result in a hefty profit once the Batavia franchise is sold.

The Muckdogs are owned by Genesee County Baseball Corp. (GCBC), a not-for-profit entity. The NYP franchise is now for sale, Larder said, with the asking price somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million.

The Red Wings agreement with GCBC provides them with 5 percent of franchise ownership for every year they operate the team, up to a maximum of 50 percent. RCB currently would be entitled to 35 percent of the sale price.

For example, if the Batavia franchise sold for $5 million by March, the Wings would get $1.75 million.

Among possible upgrades at Frontier Field: a walkway allowing fans to circle the stadium, a museum in the old firehouse building at the corner of Plymouth and Morrie Silver Way, and rest rooms near the pavilion in right field.

Batavia Muckdogs tradition alive thanks to the Rochester Red Wings

There is a great article about the relationship between the Rochester Red Wings and the Batavia Muckdogs over at the MILB website. I know a lot of these articles just go under everyone’s radar so I thought I would post a link to it here for you. I take no credit for it and it is totally written by Benjamin Hill.

http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20141017&content_id=98753978&vkey=min_bus&fext=.jsp&sid=milb

I have posted the article here for all of you. It was written By Benjamin Hill / MiLB.com on 10/17/2014 at 10:00 AM ET

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Batavia, New York, is located approximately 35 miles southwest of Rochester, but the two cities are united by more than just geographical proximity. They are also, now more than ever, united by Minor League Baseball.

The Batavia Muckdogs, named for the fertile “muck” farmland that is prevalent in the area, are the lone remaining charter member of the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League. In fact, the league — originally known as the PONY League (Pennsylvania, Ontario, New York) — was founded in the city in 1939. The Red Wings, meanwhile, are the oldest continuously operating franchise in Minor League Baseball. The team, originally known as the Broncos, has competed in the Triple-A International League since 1899, and professional baseball in the region dates back even further.

Both the Muckdogs and the Red Wings are community-owned, and prior to the 2008 season, a relationship was formed between the two entities. The Red Wings are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Muckdogs, assuming all expenses and receiving all revenue. This arrangement has, at the very least, extended the tenuous existence of the Muckdogs, who play in no-frills, city-owned Dwyer Stadium and have for years struggled to draw fans as a result of operating in a small market with a stagnant economy and declining population.

I visited Batavia and Rochester as part of an end-of-season New York-based stadium road trip, and while there spoke to executives in both cities in order to get a better understanding of the unique relationship between the two clubs.

Travis Sick has served as the Muckdogs general manager since 2009, an impressive feat considering that he only began working in Minor League Baseball two seasons prior. He began as a Red Wings intern, transitioning to the Muckdogs front office in 2008 when the Red Wings assumed operations of the team.

“The Red Wings took over because, before that, management weren’t paying their bills, weren’t doing the right thing,” he said, speaking to me during Aug. 22’s game against Mahoning Valley. “The league threatened to take over the team, and from there they probably would have left Batavia and never came back. The Red Wings stepped up and saved baseball in Batavia at that point. It would be a shame to lose it. They’ve been here since 1939 and I don’t think they wanted to see that happen.”

Here, he paused.

“The financials, they’re okay. They’re not great, we’ll put it that way. But the Red Wings are committed to making it work.”

Indeed, the Red Wings have lost money in each of the seven seasons they’ve operated the Muckdogs. However, they receive a five percent stake in the team’s ownership for each year that they do so, meaning that they now own 35 percent of the club. This percentage will be capped at 50 percent after 10 years, with the non-profit community group Genesee County Baseball Club (GCBC) retaining a technical majority.

“In the New York-Penn League, the market price [for a team] is five or six million and [the Red Wings] are going to get some of that back if the team is ever sold,” said Sick. “We have been officially for sale since 2010, but they’re not going to take any lowball effort they can get. They don’t want someone to swoop in and immediately move the team… The [GCBC] isn’t going to accept just any offer that comes through either. Obviously they would have a say in that, being majority owners. If the team is ever sold, the Red Wings get whatever percentage they have and, in the GCBC bylaws, their proceeds from a sale would go to benefit youth in Batavia.”

The Genesee County Baseball Club consists of a 25-member Board of Directors, who are elected each year. Brian Paris serves as GCBC president, and Bill Kauffman as vice-president.

“I attend the board meetings; I answer their questions,” said Sick. “I’m a go-between, between them and the Red Wings. I take their suggestions and suggest things to them that they can help out with the ballpark. They don’t have a lot of money to work with, but they can make certain improvements to enhance the atmosphere. … [GCBC] understands the situation and ultimately want to see baseball succeed here, so they’re going to do anything they can. They spread the word about the Muckdogs and have taken up some sales efforts as well. I’m the only employee who works year-round here, so I can use all of the sales help that I can get.”

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The next day I visited Rochester’s Frontier Field and, while there, spoke with Naomi Silver. Silver is the chairman and chief operating officer of Rochester Community Baseball, the organization that owns the team. Silver is a major player in the team’s decision to take over day-to-day operations of the Muckdogs.

“Batavia was a ballclub that was in that awful position of being under the threat of going out of business,” said Silver. “They could just not afford to operate any longer. It’s a team that has great value, but if you can’t pay your bills and you can’t open the gates then, you’re going nowhere. You have to sell the franchise, the league will force a sale. … It’s not a robust community from which we can draw enough people to make it viable. [Running the Muckdogs] is kind of a community service right now.”

Silver would know a thing or two about baseball-oriented community service. In 1956 her father, Red Wings president Morrie Silver, launched a successful stock drive that raised enough money to keep the team in Rochester.

“[The Red Wings] were in a little bit of trouble because the [parent] St. Louis Cardinals were going to close the operation. At that time it was common to have more than one Triple-A team, and they were going to shut down Rochester because it was not the most successful,” said Silver, regarding the events of 1956. “My dad devised this plan of stock ownership, so he made phone calls and started pounding the pavement to sell shares. It was a pretty public campaign, 8,000 people got involved and they sold 42,000 shares at $10 apiece. That raised almost enough money, and my father put in the rest to buy the franchise and the stadium from the Cardinals. And we have operated successfully ever since.”

The Red Wings remain a community-owned operation to this day. The number of shareholders has declined somewhat, but 42,000 shares remain and Silver estimates that they are valued between $90 and $100.

So was Silver’s family legacy a motivating factor in the Red Wings decision to operate the Muckdogs?

“Oh, I don’t know,” she said, after a long pause. “I just kind of fell for them, you know? It’s very tough on a community when they lose a team. Very tough. It’s usually a sign that the population has faltered or the economy has faltered. So we’ll run it for as long as we can.”

Just how much longer remains an open question. The Muckdogs lose money every year, and their market demographics are increasingly out of step within an ever-evolving New York-Penn League that includes attendance powerhouses such as the Brooklyn Cyclones, Lowell Spinners and Aberdeen IronBirds (the only NYPL team to draw fewer fans than the Muckdogs in 2014 were the Jamestown Jammers, who are relocating to Morgantown, West Virginia, for next season). Given these circumstances, it seems improbable that a buyer will emerge who is willing to keep the team in Batavia.

“It’s very rural out here, not a lot of big business, so you’re working with a lot of different sponsors and a lot of smaller groups,” said Sick. “We have to stretch out, marketing not just to Genesee County but the surrounding counties as well. The city of Batavia only has about 16,000 people and Genesee County only has 60,000. We always joke that, per capita, we’re drawing the most in the league. But that doesn’t equate to the bottom line.”

What also doesn’t equate to the bottom line is Batavia’s distinct sense of place and increasingly anachronistic status as a bastion of small-town baseball within a league, and an industry, dominated by larger markets and new, amenity-laden facilities. GCBC vice president Bill Kauffman, a Batavia native and well-known political writer and novelist, spoke to me about the inimitable charm of the Muckdogs during the game I attended in August.

“We consider ourselves the Green Bay Packers of Minor League Baseball. This team was passed on to us, and we hope that we can pass it on to the next generation,” said Kauffman, whose published works include a book about Batavia entitled Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette.

“The stands are a meeting place. You can feel the presence of the people here, and you can feel the presence of those who have passed away. There’s a great continuity. … This is the soul of baseball, right here, and this team is central to our identity.”

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben’s Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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Throwback Thursday

On 18 April 1981, 1,740 people entered Pawtucket’s McCoy stadium for the 8.30pm game between Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings. At 4am and 32 innings later, the players were “delirious” and just 19 supporters were left. Another was asleep. All were given season tickets for the McCoy stadium. The sleeping lad – the umpire’s nephew – is believed never to have attended another baseball game.

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A game between Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings. Photograph: Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images

Unfortunately I was not at that game, just read about it now, but had I been there I would of stayed till the end! :-)

Red Wings 2015 schedule

The Red Wings start the 2015 season in Buffalo at Coca-Coca Field on Thursday, April 9. Two days later, on Saturday, April 11, Rochester will open up Frontier Field for a 19th season with a 1:35 p.m. matinee against the Bisons. There will be 144 games this season. Here are two downloadable and printable versions of our 2015 schedule.

Click here to see and print the 2015 Red Wings schedule as an 8 1/2′ by 11″ black and white page (pdf file)…..or right-click on the link to save to your computer. If that link does not work you can try this one 2015_Red_Wings_Schedule_8.21.14

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This pdf file will be updated with game times and changes once they are confirmed, and it will always be our goal to have this pdf file be as current of an update as the calendar schedule in this section, which is maintained by MiLB.com; however, during the baseball season, the calendar schedule in this section will always be the official in-season schedule of record.

Click here to see and print our 2015 early edition color schedule, presented by Airport Transmission. (jpg file)…..or right-click on the link to save to your computer.

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Once again the Wings will play a total of 72 home games at Frontier Field with 34 of those contests (over 47% of schedule) falling on weekend dates (Fri-Sun). Also, 49 of Rochester’s home games are scheduled for the prime summer months of June through early September. The Wings have just 9 home games in April, followed by 14 in May, including a day-night doubleheader against Durham on May 19, 18 in June, 16 in July and 15 in August/September.

The Wings have home games scheduled for Father’s Day (June 21) and Independence Day (July 4)

For the first time in several years, the International League has gone to an unbalanced schedule resulting in more games against North Division opponents. The Wings will host the Scranton/WB RailRiders, the Yankees top affiliate, for 10 games in 2015, while entertaining Boston’s top affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, for 8 games.

The RailRiders make four trips to Rochester next season on June 6-7, June 16-18, August 14-16 and September 1-2. The Paw Sox visit the Flower City on three different occasions: June 4-5, June 29-July 1 and August 29-31.

The 2015 slate takes a three-day hiatus July 13-15 for the annual Triple-A All-Star game between the International League and Pacific Coast League. The 2015 game will be held in Omaha, Neb. on July 15.

With a slightly altered scheduling format in 2015, the Red Wings will play each team in their division (North) anywhere from 17 or 20 times and teams in the South and West Divisions anywhere from six to eight times. Rochester’s North Division opponents are the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto), Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia), Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York-A) and the Syracuse Chiefs (Washington). Teams in the South Division include the Charlotte Knights (Chicago-A), Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay), Norfolk Tides (Baltimore) and Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta). The West Division consists of the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland), Louisville Bats (Cincinnati), Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh) and Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit).

 

Brian Gionta to sign autographs at Frontier Field

Brian Gionta

Hockey star Brian Gionta will be signing autographs at Frontier Field Aug. 18, the Rochester Red Wings announced Saturday.

The lifelong Greece resident signed a three-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres last month. He will sign autographs from 6 to 6:45 p.m. before the Red Wings face the Syracuse Chiefs.

Gionta served as captain of the Montreal Canadians before signing with the Sabres. He won the Stanley Cup in 2003 while playing for the New Jersey Devils.

Gionta joins a strong lineup of autograph appearances this month, starting with Bills rookie Sammy Watkins, who will be signing autographs this Monday. Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins (Aug. 14) and David Justice (Aug. 24) are scheduled to sign autographs later this month.

Past Stats

Three new members will be added to the Red Wings Hall of Fame

Former Red Wings Royle Stillman and Pepper Martin as well as Rochester baseball great Bob Barr have all been elected into the Class of 2014 Rochester Red Wings Hall of Fame, the Wings announced on Wednesday.

The Red Wings Hall of Fame was established in 1989 to recognize individuals who made unique contributions to the history of professional baseball in Rochester, both on and off the field. After the August 29 ceremony, the Red Wings Hall of Fame will include 91 members.

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Royle Stillman was a .314 hitter over 387 career games with the Red Wings from 1973-76. The Red Wings outfielder led the team in batting in both 1973 (.354) and 1975 (.313). Stillman was also an integral part of four playoff teams in Rochester – including Joe Altobelli’s 1974 Governors’ Cup championship team when he hit .292 with 7 homers and 49 RBI over 111 games. Stillman, who would play in parts of three Major League seasons with Baltimore (1975-76) and Chicago-AL (1977), finished his Wings career with 27 home runs and 209 RBI.

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Pepper Martin enjoyed a fantastic 1930 season for the Rochester Red Wings hitting .363 with 71 extra-base hits – including 20 home runs – which helped springboard him to a 13-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals. A four-time All-Star with the Cardinals, Martin was a career .298 hitter with 59 homers and 501 RBI over 1,189 Major League games. Martin returned to Rochester in 1943 playing in 49 games for the Red Wings.

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Bob Barr — a right-handed starting pitcher for Rochester in 1886 and from 1888-1890 — compiled a career record of 97-58 across four seasons with Rochester. In 1889, his 30 victories led the International League after posting a career-high 35 wins in 1888. Rochester played its lone season of Major League Baseball in 1890 with Barr anchoring the pitching staff. His 493 innings pitched and 28 wins paced Rochester that season.

The trio will be enshrined into the Red Wings Hall of Fame in a pre-game ceremony on Friday, August 29 prior to the Wings’ game against the Buffalo Bisons,

This information was provided courtesy of NEWS 10.